THIS IS COLOSSAL

27 Jan. 2023
A photograph by Celia D. Luna of an indigenous Bolivian woman skateboarding.

All images © Celia D. Luna, shared with permission

Against the pastels and earth tones of a skate park in Bolivia, Miami-based photographer Celia D. Luna captures the vibrant energy and determination of women who express solidarity and strength through a love of skateboarding. Part of her series Cholitas Bravas, “Cholitas Skaters” focuses on a group of Indigenous Bolivian women who wear traditional clothes while practicing extreme sports. “I’ve always admired brave women and culture; it’s in my DNA,” she says, describing that her upbringing by a single mother in the Andes Mountains of neighboring Peru instilled an admiration for courage and perseverance.

As recently as the last two decades, Bolivia’s Indigenous Quechua and Aymara women, known derogatorily as “cholitas,” were marginalized and ostracized from society. Distinguished by their long braids, wide skirts, and bowler hats—an amalgamation of styles resulting from Spanish colonizers forcing Indigenous people to adopt European styles during the Inquisition—the style evolved into a symbol-rich, empowered look.

Indigenous Bolivian women were historically banned from entering some public spaces, could not use public transportation, and were burdened by extremely curtailed career opportunities. They have been advocating for their civil rights since the mid-20th century, but it wasn’t until the election of the nation’s first Indigenous president in 2006 that the Cholitas finally achieved some success in restoring their rights, and the pleated skirts, lace blouses, and sombreros prevail as emblems of their cultural roots.

Luna tells Colossal that the women’s choice to don traditional apparel is for “some of them in honor of their ancestors and some of them because that’s what they wear in their everyday life. I was taken by their courage and their love for their culture, and I wanted to capture that.” Her portraits highlight each individual as she skates around the park, gathers together with the group, and poses with her board as she gazes commandingly at the viewer.

“Cholitas Skaters” is one of a trio of sub-series that comprise Cholitas Bravas; the other two chapters focus on female rock climbers and wrestlers. Find more on Luna’s website and Instagram.

 

A photograph by Celia D. Luna of an indigenous Bolivian woman skateboarding.

Left: A photograph by Celia D. Luna of an indigenous Bolivian woman skateboarding. Right: A portrait of a "cholita" wearing a traditional Bolivian lace blouse and a white hate, holding a skateboard.

A photograph by Celia D. Luna of an indigenous Bolivian woman skateboarding.

A photograph by Celia D. Luna of an indigenous Bolivian woman holding a skateboard.

Left: A photograph by Celia D. Luna of an indigenous Bolivian woman skateboarding. Right: A portrait of a "cholita" with her skateboard.

A photograph by Celia D. Luna of an indigenous Bolivian woman skateboarding behind a group of three more women posing with their skateboards.   A photograph by Celia D. Luna of an indigenous Bolivian woman skateboarding. A portrait of an indigenous Bolivian woman posing with her skateboard and flicking her long braid into the air.

A photograph by Celia D. Luna of an indigenous Bolivian woman skateboarding.

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article Braids and Bowlers: Indigenous Bolivian Women Skateboard in Style in Celia D. Luna’s Empowered Portraits appeared first on Colossal.

26 Jan. 2023
A photo of a raw wood slice with a bird motif

All images © Zoe Feast, shared with permission

Designer Zoe Feast has an affinity for patterns, and her practice revolves around motifs of flora, fauna, and organic forms that she creates for a variety of personal projects and commissions. After a visit to her local library and an encounter with its laser engraver, Feast decided to translate her whimsical illustrations to a three-dimensional surface. She sourced slabs of wood from a nearby habitat restoration project and carved seals in whispy waves, hedgehogs lounging among flowers and foliage, and a family of wide-eyed owls perched on branches. Nestled within the gnarled, bark-laden edges, the woodland creatures add a playful texture and motif to the raw material.

See more of the collection on Feast’s site, and pick up prints and other goods featuring her designs in her shop and on Society6.

 

A photo of a raw wood slice with an owl motif

A detail photo of a raw wood slice with an owl motif

A photo of a raw wood slice with a forest motif

A photo of a raw wood slice with a flower motif

Four photos of raw wood slices with a forest motifs

A photo of a raw wood slice with a seal motif

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article Whimsical Woodland Creatures and Sea Life Carved by Zoe Feast Inhabit Raw Wood Rounds appeared first on Colossal.

26 Jan. 2023
A photo of a vibrant folk art painting with ships and animals on a white gallery wall

All images © Lisa Congdon, courtesy of Chefas Projects, shared with permission

A sense of lively optimism permeates Lisa Congdon’s work. Through vibrant palettes of yellows, pinks, and blues, the Portland-based artist pairs bold geometries with folk art symbols, rendering abstract compositions or minimal scenes that capture a joyful outlook. Her acrylic paintings are on view now at Chefas Projects as part of The Opposite of Sorrow, a solo show that considers what it means to be positive.  “One cannot know joy without also knowing darkness,” Congdon says, sharing that her practice originated as an antidote to depression. “It was through art that I began to see and feel the beauty of life and to feel happy for the first time.”

The Opposite of Sorrow is on view through February 11. If you’re in Portland, Congdon runs a shop with originals, prints, and other goods. Otherwise, find more of her paintings and illustrations on her site and Instagram.

 

A photo of a vibrant folk art painting with birds and flowers on a white gallery wall

A photo of two paintings of minimal figures with flowers

A photo of a vibrant folk art painting with birds and flowers on a white gallery wall

A photo of two vibrant geometric paintings with flowers and shapes

A photo of a vibrant painting with clouds and colorful lines on a white gallery wall

A photo of a vibrant folk art painting with flowers and an eye on a white gallery wall

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article Folk Art and Bold Geometric Shapes Flourish in Lisa Congdon’s Joyful Paintings appeared first on Colossal.

25 Jan. 2023
A painting of a natural landscape in vivid saturated colors

“MacLehose Trail Section 4” (2022), acrylic on canvas, 150 x 200 centimeters. Photos by Bonhams HK, all images © Stephen Wong Chun Hei

Vivid palettes of blues, greens, and pink saturate Stephen Wong Chun Hei’s landscapes, which translate memories of travel into dream-like paintings in acrylic. The artist considers each work a vessel for the impressions of places he’s traveled or hiked. “I never try to capture just one moment in a landscape. The colours are ever-changing through time,” Hei tells Colossal. “This is the reason that the colours in my paintings are not realistic or naturalistic in appearance. I would like them to be more subjective.”

Many of the paintings originate in a sketchbook, which the artist brings along on his adventures and back to his Hong Kong-based studio. “When I work on canvas, I also got the feeling of travel with every brushstroke and colour used,” he shares.

Hei is currently preparing for a show in May at Tang Contemporary, and one of his works will also be on view with Gallery Exit for Art Basel Hong Kong. He’s currently traveling to multiple countries to explore their landscapes, which he hasn’t been able to do since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Follow those excursions on his site and Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

A painting of a natural landscape in vivid saturated colors

“MacLehose Trail Section 2” (2022), acrylic on canvas, 150 x 200 centimeters

A painting of a natural landscape in vivid saturated colors

“MacLehose Trail Section 5” (2022), acrylic on canvas, 150 x 150 centimeters

A painting of a natural landscape in vivid saturated colors

A painting of a natural landscape in vivid saturated colors

“MacLehose Trail Section 6” (2022), acrylic on canvas, 150 x 120 centimeters

A painting of a natural landscape in vivid saturated colors

“MacLehose Trail Uphill at Section 5” (2022), acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30 centimeters

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article Memories Emerge in Stephen Wong Chun Hei’s Paintings as Vivid Saturated Landscapes appeared first on Colossal.

25 Jan. 2023
Embroideries made to look like moss that also incorporates real moss, surrounded by beads and thread.

All images © Julia Shore, shared with permission

Dappled with French knots, glinting materials, and pieces of moss, botanical embroideries by Julia Shore replicate the forest floor’s supple textures in fiber and beads. The Los Angeles-based artist also uses hand-dyed velvet, wool, felt, and sequins to add a variety of hues ranging from emerald green to golden yellow. “I tried to capture its intricacy—all the different shades and forms of moss; its soft and calming nature,” she says.

Shore’s next series of moss pieces will be released on Etsy in February. She shares embroidery tutorials on YouTube and has kits and downloadable patterns available for purchase on her website. You can also follow more updates on Instagram.

 

An embroidery made to look like moss that also incorporates real moss. Pictured held in someone's hand surrounded by beads and thread.

An embroidery made to look like moss that also incorporates real moss, pictured surrounded by natural moss.

An embroidery made to look like moss that also incorporates real moss, pictured surrounded by beads and thread.

An embroidery made to look like moss that also incorporates real moss, pictured surrounded by natural moss.

A photo of a moss-like embroidery

A photo of a multiple moss-like embroideries

An embroidery made to look like moss that also incorporates real moss, pictured surrounded by natural moss.

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article Delicate Knots, Velvet, and Beads Entwine in Julia Shore’s Mossy Embroideries appeared first on Colossal.

25 Jan. 2023
A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

All images © Max Siedentopf, shared with permission

London-based artist and creative director Max Siedentopf has a knack for portraying more than meets the eye in his distinctive portraits. A series titled Pleasure Portraits looks forward to summer, featuring the distinctive pastels and jewel tones of ice cream bars alongside subjects whose decadent makeup mimics the hues and embellishments of their paired confection.

No stranger to fashion and makeup artistry in his collaborative, creative development role with the Italian brand Gucci, Siedentopf cast models who were ornamented with gems, baubles, and vibrant patterns. In this playful study of duality, there is a twist of irony: despite the association of frozen treats and the sunny colors of summertime with pleasure, Siedentopf’s subjects sit inert and gaze expressionlessly at the viewer in a similar format to passport photos.

Siedentopf is currently preparing a few upcoming exhibitions, fashion campaigns, and a forthcoming book of photographs. Follow updates on Instagram, and find more of his work on his website.

 

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A series of side-by-side photographs pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article Vibrant Makeup Mirrors Sweet Frozen Treats in Max Siedentopf’s ‘Pleasure Portraits’ appeared first on Colossal.

24 Jan. 2023
A photo of a woman-mermaid sculpture in a gallery

“Water Woman” (2017), bronze, 91 x 165 x 178 centimeters. All images © Wangechi Mutu, courtesy of Phaidon, shared with permission

A new monograph published by Phaidon delves into the multi-faceted work of Kenyan-American artist Wangechi Mutu (previously). The first of its kind, the volume packs hundreds of artworks, glimpses into Mutu’s Nairobi studio, and her own writings within its 160 pages. Known for mythologizing, the artist often incorporates found, organic materials like soil, feathers, bone, and ephemera into her collages and sculptures. The works broadly explore gender, sexuality, politics, and the natural world through expressive, hybrid figures imbued with otherworldly lore.

To coincide with the book’s release, Phaidon has a limited-edition print available featuring Mutu’s dreamlike “WaterSpirit washed Pelican.” Explore an archive of her works on Instagram.

 

A photo of a woman-mermaid sculpture in trees

“Water Woman” (2017), bronze, 91 x 165 x 178 centimeters. Installation view at The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria, 2017

A photo of an open book spread

A collaged work of two figures

“You Are My Sunshine” (2015), collage painting on paper, 61 x 91 centimeters

A photo of an open book spread

A photo of a woman-creature sculpture

“Mamaray” (2020), bronze, 165 x 366 x 488 centimeters

A photo of three figurative sculptures with colorful hair

From left: “Mirror Faced I” (2020), soil, charcoal, paper pulp, wood glue, emulsion paint, gourd, brass beads, mirror, teak base, hair, wrought iron stand, 174 x 37 x 34 centimeters, bust 58 x 28 x 31 centimeters; “Mirror Faced II” (2020), soil, charcoal, paper pulp, wood glue, emulsion paint, desiccated baobab fruit, brass beads, mirror, teak base, hair, wrought iron stand, 168 x 31 x 36 centimeters, bust 50 x 25 x 28 centimeters; “Mirror Faced III” (2020), Soil, charcoal, paper pulp, wood glue, emulsion paint, brass beads, rose quartz, mirror, teak base, hair, wrought iron stand, 176 x 43 x 37 centimeters, bust 60 x 27 x 33 centimeters

A photo of the artist and a sculpture

Wangechi Mutu, Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, 2021

A photo of a book cover

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article A New Monograph Follows the Evolution of Wangechi Mutu’s Mythologizing Practice appeared first on Colossal.

24 Jan. 2023
Am embroidered portrait of eyes surrounded by colorful, loose threads.

All images © Danielle Clough, shared with permission

Utilizing vintage tennis rackets, T-shirts, and tie-dyed fabrics as canvases, Danielle Clough’s expressive embroideries (previously) sport summery motifs like flamingo pool floats, bright citrus, and bucket hats. The artist continues to expand upon the traditional hoop as the framing device and considers how the medium translates to unexpected surfaces like surfboards or apparel. And she isn’t afraid to experiment: her design for a surfboard—a bird perched on a large flower with a stem that trails into loose threads—didn’t go as planned when the time came to apply the piece to the physical board. However, the learning experience shaped the way she approaches future projects.

A recent series of vibrant human eyes stitched onto Adidas shirts comprise a collaboration with the brand to produce limited-edition wearable artworks. “The brief was broad: to create a sense of individual expression through the community,” Clough explains. “This collection of ‘expressions’ looks out from the wearer’s chest. Standing alone, but all together; a part of a group, like a bouquet.” She has also been experimenting with different threads and watercolor, focusing on the fabric background as an important part of the overall composition.

Clough says, “I’m currently working with a South African clothing brand called Poetry on creating a collection for spring using a variety of techniques to translate my work onto apparel,” and shares that she is also collaborating with Florida-based boxing glove maker 1V1 to create embellished mitts. Toward the end of this year, Clough will also present a series of workshops at Paradigm Gallery in Philadelphia. Find more of her work on her website, and follow the latest updates on Instagram.

 

A series of tennis and badminton rackets that have embroidered flowers in the nets.

A series of tennis and badminton rackets that have embroidered flowers in the nets.

Am embroidered portrait of eyes surrounded by colorful, loose threads.

Embroidered flowers in the net of a vintage tennis racket.

A series of portraits of eyes embroidered onto t-shirts which are rolled up to display all of the portraits.

Two images of embroidered flowers in the nets of vintage tennis rackets.

An embroidered portrait of a young woman wearing a bucket hat in profile, on a blue and purple watercolor base.

Embroidered lemons on a colorful watercolor base.

Am embroidered portrait of eyes surrounded by colorful, loose threads.

A pink flamingo embroidered on a blue fabric.

An embroidery of a bird perched on a large flower, on a blue background.

A detail of an embroidered bird.

An embroidery of a bird perched on a large flower, on a blue background.

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article Danielle Clough Reimagines Sportswear and Athletic Gear in Vibrantly Expressive Embroideries appeared first on Colossal.

24 Jan. 2023
A photo of people posted with bird masks

All images via Google Street View

A man with three legs, a vintage car scaling a building, and an unsettling formation of people donning bird masks are a few of the scenarios highlighted in the terrifically bizarre Wonders of Street View. One of the many sites of coder Neal Agarwal, the project showcases photographs of offbeat landmarks, digital glitches, chance encounters, and people who prepare to pose for the famous camera-laden Google Street View cars as they drive by. The playful platform is similarly interactive to allow viewers to explore the surroundings and generates scenes at random, taking visitors from San Francisco to Hesse, Germany, to Samburu, Kenya. Head to Wonders of Street View to traverse the globe one strange sight at a time. (via Waxy)

 

A photo of a vintage car scaling a building

A photo of a person lounging on a couch in a truck bed

A photo of a spider on a roof

A photo of a person wearing a horse mask at a table

A glitched photo of a person with three legs

A photo of dozens of pigeons in a park

A photo of a Pacman monument

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article Travel the World Through the Bizarre and Unexpected Sights of ‘Wonders of Street View’ appeared first on Colossal.

23 Jan. 2023
A photo of a glass vaccine sculpture

“AstraZeneca vaccine.” All images © Luke Jerram, shared with permission

Bristol-based artist Luke Jerram (previously) continues to add delicate specimens to his Glass Microbiology collection. The ongoing project is a collaboration with scientists at the University of Bristol, who aid Jerram in scaling three-dimensional renderings of avian flu, papillomavirus, the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, and other tiny organisms into sculptures approximately one million times their actual size. Transparent and impeccably detailed, the models are designed to showcase the structures of each microbe without distorting the viewer’s perception with non-existent colors, which are often used to distinguish various parts in illustrated renderings.

Jerram documents the process behind his swine flu sculpture in the video below, which begins with two artists hand-blowing the larger structure. The team then shapes hundreds of individual proteins that will later be fused to the virus’s exterior. Find more of the scientifically minded project on the Glass Microbiology site, and follow Jerram’s latest works on Instagram.

 

A photo of a glass virus sculpture

“Papillomavirus”

A photo of three glass virus sculptures

A photo of a glass virus sculpture

“Avian Flu 2012”

A photo of a glass virus sculpture

“EV1 (Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease)”

A detail photo of a glass vaccine sculpture

Detail of “AstraZeneca vaccine”

A photo of a glass parasite sculpture

“Giardia”

A photo of a glass ameoba sculpture

“Ameoba”

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article ‘Glass Microbiology’ Magnifies Viruses, Bacteria, and Other Organisms to 1 Million Times Their Actual Size appeared first on Colossal.

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